Fall sports offer fans plenty of excitement
August 28, 2015
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The fall semester at Slippery Rock University is here and with it comes top-flight athletic competition from 221 of the University's student-athletes.
Seven of Slippery Rock's 17 NCAA Division II athletic teams compete during the fall season including men's cross country, women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's soccer, women's soccer and volleyball.
All home SRU athletic events are free to students with a valid SRU identification card. With the exception of cross country, which competes at the nearby Cooper's Lake Campground, all Rock home venues are located on campus; soccer plays at James Egli Field, volleyball competes at Morrow Field House while football and field hockey games are held at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
Few athletic departments in the nation can boast of the success of its fall teams like Slippery Rock can. While many schools may have one dominant team, SRU has historically been powerful in all of its fall sports. Over the last five years, Rock teams have combined to record 18 winning seasons, 12 PSAC Tournament / PSAC Championship Game appearances and eight NCAA Tournament berths.
Those unable to make it to a game this season can keep up with all the action courtesy of the SRU Athletic Communication office by following live in-game statistics, which are available for all home events, and live video for contests at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium and Morrow Field House.
To access live viewing options and to stay up to date on all SRU athletic news visit www.rockathletics.com or follow @Rock_Athletics on Twitter.
SomeSlippery Rock's teams this season are defending titles while others are trying to get back to the postseason. Some have a conference Player of the Year returning and others are relying on freshmen and last year's underclassmen to step up and make an impact. Let the games begin.
A brief breakdown of each fall sport can be found below.
Of Slippery Rock's six meets this season, three will be at its home course at Cooper's Lake Campground, located eight miles from campus. The Rock will host the SRU Invitational Sept. 18, the Mack Cooper Invitational Oct. 10 and the PSAC Championships Oct. 24.
Head coach John Papa, whose 29 years as SRU's cross country / track and field head coach makes him the third longest tenured coach at Slippery Rock, will guide squads stocked with senior leadership.
The men's team features a loaded five-man senior class of Charlie Frank, Steve Green, Connor MacKelvey, Theo Reynolds and Ryan Thompson that should help The Rock have a strong year.
The women's team brings back six seniors in Angelica Bagwell, Jessica Bennett, Shannon Byerly, Brittany Fagan, Amy Jordan and Jenny Picot, who earned all-conference accolades as a junior.
With just seven upperclassmen and 11 freshmen, head coach Julie Swiney will lead one of the youngest teams in the PSAC this season. Swiney has done a great job turning around a program that had won just 11 games in the six seasons prior to her arrival into a squad that has won 35 contests and qualified for the PSAC Tournament three times in her first six years at Slippery Rock.
Leading Slippery Rock on the field this season will be senior goalkeeper Carlee DuMars and junior forward Michelle Couch.
DuMars is on pace to break several SRU career records in her final season and Couch is coming off of a career-season in which she scored three goals.
Slippery Rock starts its 2015 campaign with three consecutive home matches Sept. 6 against Bellarmine, Sept. 7 versus American International and Sept. 10 against Mansfield.
Slippery Rock will look to repeat an outstanding performance from a year ago that saw The Rock go 9-3, win the PSAC title and earn a spot in the NCAA playoffs. SRU has appeared in three out of the last four PSAC Championship games and has gained entry into the NCAA playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
There is plenty of reason for the optimism that currently surrounds Rock football; SRU returns 21 starters from last year's championship team. Leading the way will be junior running back Shamar Greene, senior offensive lineman Cory Tucker and sophomore defensive lineman Marcus Martin. All three earned All-America honors last season.
One of the premiere head coaches in college football, George Mihalik is back for his 28th year at Slippery Rock. He enters the season with 185 career wins, which ranks fourth among all active Division II head coaches.
Slippery Rock will play six home games this season: Sept. 12 against East Stroudsburg, (White Out night); Sept. 19 against Millersville; Oct. 10 against California (Pa.) (Homecoming); Oct. 24 against Indiana (Pa.); Nov. 7 against Clarion and Nov. 14 against Cheyney. SRU's game against East Stroudsburg is the NCAA Division II Showcase Game of the Week, so be sure to wear your white, paint your face and come out to the game to show the national TV audience that at SRU, we ROCK.
After winning the most matches by a first-year head coach in program history a season ago, Andy Hoggarth returns for his second season at The Rock. The SRU men's soccer team will look to improve on last season's 11-7 record and return to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last eight years.
Key returners for Slippery Rock include all-region senior defender Ryan Boylan, all-conference senior forward Peter Boylan, who scored seven goals and passed out one assist in 2014, and starting goalkeeper junior Steven Rerick.
Slippery Rock begins its season with back-to-back home games Sept. 3 against Malone University and Sept. 5 against Daemen.
A new era of women's soccer is underway as first-year head coach Jessica Griggs takes over for Noreen Herlihy, who left at the end of last season to become the head coach at the University of Akron.
Griggs' first team at Slippery Rock will feature a perfect mixture of both old and new blood. Headlining a group of 14 returners are former All-America honorees junior forward Andrea Felix and senior midfielder Allison Harbart. Griggs' first recruiting class includes 10 freshmen that will be counted on to contribute early in their careers.
Fans will have plenty of opportunities to get an early look at the women's soccer team this fall as SRU plays five of its first six games at Egli Field starting with a Sept. 5 non-conference contest against Daemen.
Rock women's soccer has been the premiere program in the PSAC for nearly two decades. A perennial title contender, SRU has not had a losing year in the last 19 seasons, amassing 245 wins, 12 PSAC Tournament bids, nine NCAA Tournament berths and three regional final appearances.
Head coach Laurie Lokash, who enters her 32nd season ranked ninth among all active Division II coaches in victories, returns 12 players from last season's squad that went 17-14 overall and 10-12 in conference play.
Helping ease the loss of a talented 2014 senior class will be 12 returners from a season ago including sophomore outside hitter Leah Jones and junior middle hitter Jaden Zimmer. Jones and Zimmer ranked second for SRU last year in kills and blocks, respectively, with 275 and 62.
SRU plays its first 12 matches of the season on the road before hosting Alderson-Broaddus Sept. 22 at Morrow Field House for its home opener.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tyler McIntosh | 724.738.2777 | firstname.lastname@example.org